Newcastle City bid temporarily goodbye to their home field No.1 Sportsground in style on Saturday afternoon, building what turned out to be an unassailable 29–0 lead in the opening quarter to claim second place over the Hawks.
The Blues went into their Round 8 meeting against playoff rivals Cardiff knowing it was likely adieu to No.1 Sportsground until at least 2022 due to major venue upgrades.
The champs put on a show in the opening quarter in their headquarter’s honour, leaping out to a 29-point lead in the first fifteen minutes. Molly Simpson, Annalise Norton, Caitlin Holcombe, and Giants AFLW star Sarah Halvorsen all scored early in the rush.
Cardiff was able to right the rocking ship in the second quarter, however, slowing down the contest slightly. Amy Pittman slotted two home — part of an eventual goodbye hat-trick in the eighth round — as the Hawks shot two wide for behinds.
Taylor Joyce was the next to clock a major, firing City to 52 points early in the fourth after a scoreless third flew by. The Hawks were able to strike back with goals from Minerva Bailey, golden boot contender Tayla Gregory, and Abbey Cooksley, but late goals from Pittman and Simpson kept the Blues ahead to the final whistle.
The Blues have enjoyed rampaging success at No.1 Sportsground in recent years. In fact, the three-time defending champions have slowly been turning their inner-city venue into a stronghold. The Cardiff win marks their 764th day undefeated at home.
The last time Newcastle City tasted defeat in the women’s top-grade at home was in Round 17 of the 2018 competition, on August 4. Warners Bay, who would go on to finish ninth, upset the Blues in a shock 48-35 win, led by three from Rachel Evans.
Newcastle City’s record at No.1 in the past six years:
- 5–0 so far in the 2020 season.
- 9–0, including the grand final, in 2019.
- 8–1 in 2018, only losing to Warners Bay.
- 8–0, including the grand final, in 2017.
- 7–2, both losses to Nelson Bay, including 2016 final.
- 6–1 in 2015, only losing to Warners Bay.
The No.1 sendoff marked a pivotal moment for the Black Diamond Cup finals too.
City now step into clear second, just four points behind runaway leaders Killarney Vale at the top. Cardiff are relatively safe in second, two wins clear of Terrigal Avoca, but with four rounds left, both teams still have everything to play for.
The Panthers copped a hit to their top-three bid in Round 8 though, falling to Warners Bay in a shock 47–34 defeat on the road at Feighan Oval.
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The Bulldogs have become renown as a bogey team for many clubs over the past few years, and delivered on that status again thanks to four goals across three quarters from Rickelle Peris. Kirsty Jedrzejak added two more for good measure.
Elsewhere in the eighth round, Wyong Lakes accounted for Nelson Bay in a 10.12–72 to 3.0–18 clash at Dick Burwell Oval, and Killarney Vale rolled over the Saints with 32 goals at Adelaide Street Oval. Sian George scored seven, Jocelyn Kelleher scored five.
STANDINGS: Killarney Vale (32), Newcastle City (28), Cardiff (24), Terrigal Avoca (16), Wyong Lakes (12), Warners Bay (8), Maitland (4), Nelson Bay-Port Stephens (0).